Six impossible things

Posts Tagged how-to

Where it happens

Setting is one of the things that seems to get short shrift in a lot of beginner stories/novels. Even writers who are devotees of the Tolkien School of Background and Appendices tend to focus on the history and politics part of worldbuilding, and occasionally on various aspects […]

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Grammar, Syntax, and other Actual Rules

Spelling, grammar, punctuation, syntax. For a lot of would-be writers, they seem to be love ‘em or leave ‘em – which is to say, many of the folks I talk to have either an absolute slavish devotion to formal grammar, punctuation, or else a firm conviction that […]

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Revenge, rehabilitation, and redemption

Some years back, I read a book on the history of the penal system – one of those random research things that pays off in unexpected ways. In this case, what struck me was the author’s summary of the history and theory behind law and punishment. A […]

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Hooks again

Ok, shameless promotional stuff first. The hardcopy paperback version of Wrede on Writing is now available, and as a promotion, the Goodreads site is doing a giveaway – five people, selected at random from those who register, will each get a free copy. For anyone interested the […]

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Some Useful Books

First, the exciting news (exciting for me, anyway): I have just signed the contract to do a collection of these blog posts (selected, edited, and occasionally augmented) on writing for Diversion Books. It should be coming out in December as an e-book with a hard-copy option (so […]

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Being mean

Lots of writers talk about being mean to their characters. Lots of critique groups tell writers to be meaner to their characters, to figure out what the worst possible thing is that can happen to that character, and then somehow make it happen. Of course, it has […]

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“Crossover” is one of those writing terms that has multiple meanings, depending on to whom you’re talking and what you’re talking about. In fanfiction, for instance, it refers to a story that includes characters from totally different series or settings – Superman shows up in “Romeo and […]

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Crowd scenes

One of the first things I ever learned to hate about writing was writing council scenes. One character on stage had things to do; two characters on stage could talk to each other; three could talk and interrupt and disagree. But with every character after that who […]

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What you do right

Years ago, I had a chance to talk to a bunch of high school English teachers about writing, and one of the first things they asked was what my high school teachers had done to inspire me to write. I had to honestly tell them “Nothing,” because […]

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People who aren’t like you

Every writer ends up writing about someone who isn’t exactly like them sooner or later – and it’s nearly always sooner, given the number of characters in the average novel. The minor characters, walk-ons, and even the important secondary characters can usually be fudged, but the main […]

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